Almost 35 percent of Americans rent the place they live in as of 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. That means around 100 million people in the U.S. live in leased homes, apartments or condos. Many tens of thousands of businesses also lease the spaces they operate in. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that almost 304,000 people were employed as property, real estate, leasing agent and community association managers in 2010, but the BLS is predicting only a relatively anemic six percent employment growth for the category through 2020.
Education and Training
Although most leasing agent positions only require a high school diploma or GED, employers often prefer candidates with some college or an associate's or bachelor's degree, especially for commercial leasing agent positions. Business administration or real estate management are typical degree programs for those looking to become leasing agents. Many employers also prefer to hire leasing agents with a leasing agent or real estate professional certification such as the National Apartment Leasing Professional certification or Realtors license.
The primary responsibility of a leasing agent is to show properties for lease to prospective tenants. Besides presenting the property in a positive light and making sure the prospective lessor sees all of the features, a leasing agent needs to be well-informed about the property and the neighborhood, so she can answer any questions that come up.
Negotiate Lease and Discuss Terms
Leasing agents also typically negotiate rental rates and other lease contract terms with potential tenants. Leasing agents also review the contract terms and discuss any additional community rules, such as fees for trash, utilities and so forth, with prospective lessors. Many leasing agents are also responsible for collecting rents from tenants, making deposits for the business and other basic bookkeeping tasks.
Confirming Rental Applicant Data and References
Another important duty of leasing agents is to confirm rental applicant data and personal references. This usually involves both a credit check and a criminal history check, as well as calling to check on the applicant's rental history and talking to personal references. This process can sometimes take as long as two weeks.
Other duties of leasing agents include placing ads in various types of media for properties to be leased, making appointments to see properties with prospective tenants, record-keeping, making copies of documents, and maintaining the rental office. Some leasing agents also have a number of management-related duties, such as arranging for repairs, dealing with problem tenants and settling disputes.